Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Enugu has witnessed no fewer than 27 visually impaired students participating in the examination at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus.
Speaking on the exercise, Professor Emeritus UNN and Coordinator of the examination, Prof. Mosto Onuoha, said the exercise was the brain child of the current JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, to accommodate physically challenged persons in the country.
He said the registrar conceived the idea of creating Jamb Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG), where eminent Nigerians were picked to actualise the dream of conducting the examination for this class of people.
According to Onuoha, the exercise began in 2017 with few centres in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja and Kano but was later extended to about 11 centres.
The coordinator said that Enugu centre covered the South-East and South-South parts of the country.
“What people don’t know is that physically challenged persons like blind students are also in the universities.
“They register, fill JAMB forms and qualify like other students, as other students use Computer Based Test (CBT), the blind students use braille, marker board, typewriter and laptop.
“The number dropped this year nationally in many centres. We expected 28 students here in Enugu but 27 showed up as at Wednesday night,” he said.
He added that the Board was able to contact them in advance, requested them to come with a guide, put them in a hotel, fed them and also gave them a token assistance.
Onuoha, who described the exam as a “worthy exercise,” explained that their main duty before the exam was to ensure that blind students who applied for JAMB were selected.
The coordinator further said that the group would also include other physically challenge persons like albinos in the next exercise.
He pointed out that the board encouraged universities to have special consideration to these people in terms of admission.
A visually impaired student from Rivers State, Sarima Owhor, described the examination as “nice and best” and thanked JAMB for considering them.
She stated that she did not encounter any challenge throughout the duration of the examination.
Franklin Ifeanyi from Imo State also said the exercise was “hitch free and smooth,” and commended JAMB for choosing the right people to coordinate the exam.
The supervisors read the questions to the students with options which they chose and wrote with the help of typewriters, braille and laptops among others.